Our organization was formed to hold and protect the area now known as the Friends of Harriet L. Hartley Conservation Area.
Research into historical property deeds clearly shows that this area is owned by Judith Grace and Jeffrey Mabee. Dispute over the ownership has resulted in a long and complicated legal challenge. Our case in now under appeal in the Maine Supreme Court.
Our long range vision is to lead efforts to reclaim, restore, and conserve environmentally critical coastal and intertidal land around Penobscot Bay.
Who is Dr. Harriet L. Hartley?
Harriet L. Hartley was born in Philadelphia in 1874. Dr. Hartley graduated from medical school in 1903 and became a professor of surgery with a specialty in pediatrics, an advocate for public health, and a champion of women in medicine. She and her husband moved to Belfast in the 1920s where they owned a large property on the Little River.
Over the years, Dr. Hartley sold some of the property, but intentionally retained possession of the intertidal zone fronting her original tract. When the final piece of her land was sold in the 1950s, Dr. Hartley attached a covenant that stated, “...it is to be used for residential purposes only, that no businesses for profit are to be conducted there…” That covenant passed down in all subsequent deeds, as did the ownership of the intertidal zones.